Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, March 27, 2009

This Week in Publishing 3/27/09

Another busy week in publishing, so let's get started.

First off, my wonderful client Jennifer Hubbard and some of her blogging friends are hosting a fundraiser for local libraries! All you have to do is click over to her blog and leave a comment on her blog or one of the other participants, and they'll donate an extra 25 cents.

Also on Jennifer Hubbard's blog recently was some of the best first draft advice you'll ever receive.

And our good friend Conduit/Stuart Neville, author of the forthcoming novel THE TWELVE (UK)/GHOSTS OF BELFAST (US) (can we start calling Conduit/Stuart "Slash" for short?) posted about a common sentiment about embarking upon the all-important second novel. Angst and nervousness sometimes (often) involved.

In the category of "holy crap, why didn't anyone tell me this blog existed???", I came across Picador creative director Henry Sene Yee's blog, which is mainly devoted to talking about how book designers create their jackets, their inspiration and source material, and some of the drafts and false starts along the way. IT. IS. FASCINATING. The most recent post is about the cover for COLUMBINE by Dave Cullen. (hat tip Book Design Review)

Moonrat took a look at a Richard Curtis article from 1986 about the way the conglomeration of the publishing industry has resulted in editorial turnover that leads to less author and book commitment, which is still, shall we say, still relevant. Curtis also created just a partial list of the publishing mergers and acquisitions of the past 20 years, which is eye-popping.

Good news for the indispensable site Writer Beware, a judge dismissed a lawsuit by a supposed literary agent against the site, with prejudice. I've always wanted to type that. I just took out the trash WITH PREJUDICE. It has a ring to it. Anyway, as you may recall a literary agent sued the site's organizers claiming libel, but the judge was having none of that.

The Bookseller recently reported on a reader study (market research?? publishing??) in the UK that concluded that 20m (which I think means 20 million, although it could mean 20 males) readers are currently being left behind by a publishing industry that they think conveys a certain type of society and lifestyle. They also regard reading as an "anti-social activity". Well, YEAH. And thank goodness, too.

Also in "those wacky Brits" news, the annual award for the Oddest Book Title was announced. This year's winner: THE 2009-2014 WORLD OUTLOOK FOR 60-MILLIGRAM CONTAINERS OF FROMAGE FRAIS. Sorry, BABOON METAPHYSICS. Not weird enough for first place.

In agent advice news, you may have noticed a recent article in The Beast about how some big short story collections are defying industry conventional wisdom that says collections don't sell. So agents are probably all over them now, right? Miriam at Dystel & Goderich says not so fast.

Meanwhile, after all this talk about the death of publishing, do you still want to work in the publishing business? Jessica Faust has some advice: pack your bags for Manhattan. Oh. And you might want to brush up on your drink mixology skills for your night job (yes, you may need one).

And in another crucial question answered, Jessica Faust tackles what an author can really do to help sell their books. A must-read.

And finally, take a beloved picture book classic, add Dave Eggars and Spike Jonez, mix in a dash of the Arcade Fire (Mom, that's a popular band among people my age), and what you have is pure hipster crack. I can tell you from personal experience that Gen Xers and Yers across the nation are currently losing their minds over the trailer for WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE:



Have a great weekend!






73 comments:

Rick Daley said...

Thanks for the update, now I'm off to post another comment elsewhere so I can help find a library...

Justus M. Bowman said...

Thanks for the information.

angela said...

Lots of great info. So glad I found your blog.

Tara Maya said...

I agree the first place winner deserves the title. But "Baboon Metaphysics" is going to be on my must-read list.

Chris said...

Let's hear it for anti-social activity! Unless, of course, you're reading out loud...to people who want to hear it.

Dara said...

You know, that post made by Jennifer Hubbard was really what I needed to read now :) I'm the queen of second guessing, and that's probably the main reason why I haven't finished my first draft. :P

Ink said...

Best. Kids. Book. Evah.


Okay, tied for best. Gotta give some props to Mercer Meyer's One Monster After Another. But much love for the Wild Things (wherever they may be).

And nice to see some props for short story writers. And I'm probably going to have to buy that Columbine book now... damn the enticing linkage!

My best,
Bryan

Marybeth said...

I'd have to disagree. Best children's book ever would have to be "Goodnight Moon". Although I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be much of a movie line for that. Thanks for the news Nathan!

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

Where the Wild Things Are trailer look good, but not THAT amazing.

have a good weekend, everyone. cheers

ryan field said...

Library funding this way is a great idea.

I'm Glad the writer beware case was dismissed.

Chuck H. said...

Big snowstorm comin' in. Looks like a good weekend to stay in and read. Too bad I don't have a copy of "Baboon Metaphysics".

Ink said...

Marybeth,

I read Goodnight Moon to my kids all the time! Good book. I'd still have to tip my hat to the Wild Things, though. Goodnight Moon is lacking in, um, monsters. How can you win without monsters?

My best,
Bryan

Marilyn Peake said...

Thanks once again for so many great links. All that information makes me very excited to be a writer, even if it is tough times right now. I left a comment on Jennifer Hubbard’s blog, and even managed to use the word Huzzah! She’s doing a wonderful thing. I love the book, Where the Wild Things Are, and the movie trailer for it looks absolutely awesome! I saw it yesterday on The Swivet blog, and sent the link to my friends. I also love the adult graphic novel, Watchmen, saw the extraordinary movie yesterday; and feel so inspired, it's like I've been in creative heaven since then. Amazing trailer for Watchmen: here.

Have a great weekend!

Scott said...

We have a name for those 20m who stuff their faces with moving images all day and look at book readers as lame. "Vidiots". The experience of reading requires effort, and has its own reward. One that sticks with you. You want a fast track to annoying? Keep worshiping that tube.

Hmm...maybe we can hide 3-D glasses in them. That might get them to open one.

And cheers for the collection info, Nathan. I'd been wondering about that myself. Not everyone is the next Donald Ray Pollock, but I do have a collection idea tucked away that I may just sit on some more.

And 25 cents deposited. Hurrah!

Ink said...

A little music for those of a monsterish persuasion...


Bryan

Shelli said...

finally i can waste time for a good cause. :)

writerjenn said...

Thanks for linking, Nathan! Several of your readers have been gracious enough to drop by, and I appreciate it. I imagine the libraries will, too. :-)

Jennifer Hubbard

Vancouver Dame said...

A good wrap-up post for the week, Nathan. Enjoyed all the links, but I especially liked hearing that the people who maintain the Writer Beware blog were vindicated.

Also enjoyed Stuart Neville's post on the second novel. His current position is enviable, but I agree that angst persists at all levels in any creative field.

Nathan, There was a question raised by one of the readers earlier this week, regarding what you and your readers consider their favorite writing book, and why. I second that suggestion for a future question. We might all learn of a few new books to help us in our quest. Some of us might even buy a book or two, as a result.
Have a great weekend, Nathan, and ditto to all the readers of your blog.

Scott said...

I can't wait for the film adaptation of my favorite children's book, Everybody Poops.

And how are y'all doing the word-linking? Is it < url= >?

Nathan Bransford said...

Yeah, I'll be asking the writing book question at an upcoming You Tell Me.

Ink said...

Vancouver Dame,

Have you ever read Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott? If not...

Always good to help out a fellow Canuckian. :)

My best, as always,
Bryan

Rowenna said...

If people get counted like office supplies, 20m would be 20,000. I'm familiar with office supplies, less so the standards on reporting numbers of people.

Kristi said...

Thanks for all the links Nathan. Good for Jennifer Hubbard - I left a message but had to do so as Anon for some reason so hope it counts. I also loved Jessica Faust's blog.

As far as short stories go, they may not sell but they're so much fun to write. I figure, as long as you're unpublished and not beholden to anyone yet, you can write whatever the heck you want. Happy Friday! :)

Ink said...
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Mark Terry said...

Better watch out. You start labeling reading an "anti-social activity" and the next thing you know, kids will do it just to spite their parents.

Nathan Bransford said...

lol @ Bryan.

Scott, here's how you do it, only replace every [ or ] with a < or >

[a href="http://link.com"]text text text[/a]

Ink said...

Scott,

(Nope, fourth time isn't the charm either... so I erased it and will simply let Nathan do it. These are words of wisdom. Frankly, I'm planning on ceding my laundry and dishwashing to Nathan as well. Superior technique is superior technique.

Bryan

Ink said...

And here I thought spaces and stuff would break the link and make me look all clever and sophisticated. Apparently, um, not.


Bryan

Mira said...

Wow, what an assortment of interesting links. I'll be reading this weekend. Thanks, Nathan.

My favorite picture book goes to the Polar Express. But I love Where the Wild Things are and Good Moon.

Can I make a blatant plug? I want to plug my new blog 'Come In Character.' I started it last Friday, and some here are over there posting, which is fanastic. I'd love for anyone who would like to come over.

It's a cool way to sharpen your characterizations skills. You post in your character voice, answer questions and interact with other characters.

I know this is blatant, sorry, but I started it from this blog, and this is the best place for me to keep plugging it.

Thanks, Nathan.

Ink said...

I'm going to go read some DeLillo now. This will make me feel smart.


Bryan

Bane of Anubis said...

I liked WTWTA with prejudice, but I'm not sure how well it'll translate to the screen - though I'm sure the tikes'll lap it up. Best kids books, though, I'd go w/ the works of CVA.

I disliked Bird by Bird with prejudice.

Everybody, have a good weekend with prejudice...or scones.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Just watched the trailer. Better than I expected.

Lady Glamis said...

That was a great post from Jessica Faust, I agree. Thanks for all these links and for the video. Looks interesting and WILD!

PurpleClover said...

Thanks!

Great links. Glad the lawsuit was dropped.

Loved the clip! Looks very cute.

:)

Litgirl01 said...

Where the Wild Things Are was my favorite book when I was a young kid! Hmmm...telling! :-)

Rick Chesler said...

Thanks once more for the info, Nathan.

mixinc said...

Re: UK survey: But reading CAN be a social activity. Ever see four kids hanging over the same magazine or yapping about a bestseller? The article makes a good point about difficult-to-navigate libraries and bookstores. You should be asking how you can make it as easy to get books as it is to get TV.

Victoria Strauss said...

Thanks for the mention, Nathan. WITH PREJUDICE.

the-sea-to said...

Thanks Nathan, I was especially grateful for your link to Jennifer Hubbard, as like Dara it is precisely what I need to hear at the moment.

All the best,

Chris

Solvang Sherrie said...

Love the Jessica Faust links. The preview for Where the Wild Things Are looks cute, too. Have a good weekend!

Stuart Neville said...

Thanks for the nod, Nathan. I shall watch my visitor stats with interest!

Mira said...

whoopsie.

If I'm going to shamelessly promote, I should at least post the link:

http://comeincharacter.blogspot.com/

It's the best darn tool for characterization in the known universe. Hell, the unknown universe. The gods post there.

Well, not yet. I could use a god. Any gods want to come post there? Or goddesses? I'm not choosy.

Laura Hyatt-Author said...

That looks like a perfect movie for the gen x crowd. You see, we aren't that hard to figure out! Take some imagination and a wild adventure and we're all in. (P.S. especially if they throw in a little anti-abusive-authority themes in as well!)

TerriRainer said...

The "literary agency" that sued the Writer Beware gals actually advertises on Facebook claiming to be a new literary agency. Thank God for that blog and website!

It is so true what you and other agents tell writers...research agents before you query (for multiple reasons)!

:) Terri

Rachel said...

A movie whose trailer is set to Arcade Fire has got to be awesome. Thanks, Nathan (for the news, too).

Scott said...

Cheers, Nathan. I'll give it a try.

jil said...

I never read 'Wild Things" but maybe I would like it now. I do love anything that has a monster becoming beloved.
The Little Prince has always been one of my favorites.

Melissa McInerney said...

Dave Eggars! Spike Jonze! This could be good. Usually movies based on beloved children's books are really bad, unless Tim Burton gets involved.

Great links this week with lots of good advice. Too bad you can't help me with March Madness, although I did pick Missouri to win and last time I checked, they were still hangin' in there.

christine tripp said...

Also in "those wacky Brits" news, the annual award for the Oddest Book Title was announced.

You have to love the Brits. They have given us most of the classic children's books but also most of our movie and TV favorites.

As for the trailer, must see the whold movie but as it stands now, from the trailer, the musical score nails it and though I think it could have been done (carefully, meaning darkely) with just animation, the live might work (though that intails the child being much older then in the book)
No, it's not exactly like H.R. Puffenstuff as some say (though I get the similarity)
We can only see.

Vancouver Dame said...

To INK: No, I haven't read 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott. I'll check it out.

I've also got quite a few 'writing books' in my library including a few traditional reference tomes. I'll wait for Nathan to put the question up for discussion before I list the ones I know about. I think it's an excellent way for writers to learn from other writers which books are worth the purchase.

Thanks, Nathan - will watch for that question to appear in one of your posts.

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira,

My characters have been having a blast, chatting on your new Come in Character blog site. Great idea!

xengab said...

Nathan, what do you think of Creative Byline? The site that claims it will get publishers looking at your work.

Kim Kasch said...

Just thought you might like to see that you are one of five in ”The Best of the Best for Blogging Agents”

freddie said...

I'm cleaning the cat litter. WITH PREJUDICE.

Mira said...

Wow, Marilyn, thank you!! It's such fun having you post in character there. :-)

Vancover Dame, I can also recommend Bird by Bird. I'm reading it now, and really like it.

Nathan - top five, congratulations!

Marilyn Peake said...

Congratulations, Nathan, on your blog making the top five in agent sites. Definitely well-deserved!!

Vodka Mom said...

great stuff- and I ADORED that trailer......

Laini Taylor said...

Thanks for the links, especially the Jessica Faust promotion one -- there's so much pressure to promote, and really so little we can do (without $$) that will have a real impact. It's nice for someone to say, "Just write good books." I only wish it truly were that simple!

Vancouver Dame said...

Thanks, Mira, re-Bird by Bird. That's two that like it and one that doesn't. It's good to get different opinions, since we all look for different things in writing books.

Jennifer Mann said...

From a devoted lurker...thanks for the trailer! It made me cry. And I have a personal policy of never (almost) watching movies based on favorite children's books. Where does that leave me now?

Writer from Hell said...

All the energy and time you obviously put in blogging for the writers is much appreciated. Congrats on being in the top 5..whoopie!!!

Did you know when people say we are amongst the top 5 what they really mean is they are the 5th.

Writer from Hell said...

..though for us loyal fans you are no. 1. Others' blogs are just not there. You are really savage - ya I mean you save the age.

have a good abrupt weekend. I mean abso rapturous..

Mira said...

wow. that trailer is amazing. I'm not surprised people are going nuts for it. Stunning, and great music.

Marilyn, I finally had time to sit down and read your book - I loved it! I had trouble at first, because I was reading for the wrong age group. Once I adjusted the age - 6-12, right - it totally worked. Gorgeous prose, great story. I got goose bumps at the end.

I'm going to review it at Amazon.

You know, I was thinking about this. I have my hands full with my new blog, but maybe for the future - or if someone else wants to.....

A really cool blog would be a place where new and newish authors get together and read each other's works. They could support each other and help market each other and talk about how to get the word out.

Just a thought. I guess a networking support site? Maybe something like that already exists....

Anyway, I (honestly) loved your book.

Marva said...

In re: Wild Things trailer.

Sorry, but this trailer is nothing but a kid running around with a big, fluffy muppet. How is this so exciting? A sad commentary, I'm afraid, on what's "new" and "exciting."

Looks a lot like "Legend."

MaLanie said...

What I saw in the trailer was a much deeper story than a boy running around in a costume. I have a feeling the movie will be good.

Did they ever make a movie out of Romona the Pest? My daughter would love that!

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira,

Wow, thank you very, very much! I'm so glad you liked The Fisherman's Son. I still get nervous when someone reads my work. I'm honored that you read one of my books, and thrilled that you enjoyed it.

Mira said...

I really did. I'm going to order the sequel. Just to make you nervous again. :-)

Although, you're a good writer. No idea why you'd be nervous!

Dave Cullen said...

Thanks, Nathan.

I wrote "COLUMBINE" and I love what Henry did with the cover. And I loved reading his blog and learning more about how it came about. (They were great about asking for my approval, including offering to put my name back on the cover if I wanted, but I never saw/heard much of how it came about. I don't think writers usually get to see that part. I had no idea there were all those drafts for my cover.)

Thanks for mentioning it. I'm glad this post lead me to your blog. (Google alerts--aren't they great?)

And jumping in early on the writing books, I'm a huge fan of Janet Burroway's "Writing Fiction: A Guide To Narrative Craft." I loved it as a student, and as a teacher, teaching undergrads. And they loved it, too.

AravisGirl said...

Wild things! I used to watch the PBS kids show...

Marilyn Peake said...

Thank you so much, Mira!

christopher ryan said...

great stuff. and i love the bit about the first draft - but what about taking on the second draft? to me that's almost as daunting, if not more, because the passion of the creative act has sort of passed on to a new stage. the pragmatic, soul-searching, scrutinizing eye of the perfectionist must take over. where to start? how to do it - section by section, from the beginning, from the end to the opening... or simply shove it in a drawer and hope it finishes itself?

the horror, the horror.

-- chris

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